Healthy workspace in the heart of Ortigas
Regained investor and consumer confidence, increased economic activities, and the gradual recovery of local and global economies will help the Philippine real estate industry bounce back starting second half of next year.
Main element of recovery
Five property consultancy firms polled by the Inquirer pointed out that this recovery, however, will still hinge on several key factors apart from the Philippines being able to secure vaccines against COVID-19. Although there is liquidity in the market, banks are offering low mortgage rates, and property developers are extending attractive, flexible payment terms, the industry’s recovery may also depend on the policies and economic stimulus that the government may roll out over the next 12 months and the kind of innovations that companies will be adopting.
“The main element to the recovery is regained business and consumer confidence that would drive economic activity. The vaccine remains key to this regained confidence and depending on how soon this is rolled out, would influence the window of recovery,” said Janlo delos Reyes, head of research and consultancy at JLL Philippines.
“With the current landscape, we maintain our forecast of a subdued real estate market in early 2021 with recovery beginning middle to late next year. We can expect market practices that were adopted under the pandemic such as focus on safety and wellbeing, technology adoption and digitalization, and flexible work arrangements to become part of the norm,” delos Reyes added.
Claro dG. Cordero Jr., director and head of research, consulting and advisory services at Cushman & Wakefield Philippines, meanwhile said that “we can expect a recovery in real estate, as soon as consumer and investor confidence return.”
“The return to growth trajectory of both consumer and investor confidence does not rest solely on the mass production of the vaccine against the COVID-19 virus. Equally important is the choice of policies and proper economic stimulus that will support this recovery,” he said.
Leading the recovery
According to Cordero, one of the biggest drivers of the industry’s recovery will still be the office sub-sector due to the expected growth of the outsourcing business. This expected growth, in turn, should be supported with the more stable connectivity and stringent online security measures which will allow flexible work arrangements for the workers, as well as appropriate and predictable business incentives for outsourcing companies.
Similarly, Fred Rara, senior research manager at KMC Savills, noted that in terms of office tenants, business process outsourcing (BPO) companies in the healthcare industry are expected to expand during this time. The logistics industry, as fueled by increased e-commerce activity, is likely to perform well, too.
“Office leasing recovery will primarily hinge on recovery of general business sentiment which should entice local businesses to reopen; and recovery of global economies that outsource services from the Philippines,” added Joey Roi Bondoc, senior research manager at Colliers International Philippines. “In our opinion, key segments such as telecommunications, medical coding, health information management, and e-commerce should help lift leasing and hence, rental growth recovery in the second half of 2021.”
Bondoc however pointed out that for the office sector, property developers must be more proactive in responding to tenants’ requirements which now include implementation of more stringent health and safety standards. Landlords should also be more discerning with design considerations such as proper air circulation, bigger spaces, and glass ratio for natural sunlight, as well as property management capabilities as the pandemic highlighted the need for healthy office buildings.
One office building that is poised to offer a healthy, conducive environment for its tenants is The Offices at The Galleon, which will soon rise in the heart of the Ortigas central business district. It will be part of a two-tower mixed-use complex called The Galleon, which will also have upscale residences and a retail hub.
Even prior to the pandemic, Ortigas Land had already set out to ensure that its premium Grade A office spaces here will have sustainable, efficient and environment-friendly features to ensure the health and safety of its future locators. Coincidentally, these exceptional eco-friendly, “future-proof” features are the same assets that will allow its locators to thrive in a post-pandemic era.
For instance, The Offices at The Galleon is strategically located in the heart of a thriving business district, which ensures its accessibility and proximity to all essential shops, institutions and services—a critical need that the pandemic and lockdowns have highlighted over the last nine months.
Ortigas Land also commissioned several studies including the Outdoor Thermal Comfort Study, which looked into the interplay among the wind, sun, humidity and temperature to create a more pleasant experience for locators and residents. Based on its plan, The Galleon will have added shading where people need it, bring in overheated corners, while windbreaks were positioned where required, among other features.
Its Solar Reflectivity Study looked into the reflections of buildings, which are crucial particularly for multi-tower developments. It looked at how often direct and reflected sunlight can impact a space, either within or outside The Galleon, and how the two towers will “interact,” so as to ensure all units are not overexposed to nuisance glare or heat gains.
An Advanced Computational Fluid Dynamics technique was also used to design effective and efficient ventilation systems that help create value for locators and residents. Ventilation consultation helps in taking advantage of airflows to help reduce energy consumption, improve thermal comfort and to allow the delivery of clean, odor-free air through filtration and air exchange with the outdoors.
Beyond that, the office tower’s glass exteriors will allow natural light to fill the spaces while the expansive lobbies and wide open spaces will further ensure adequate breathing room for its tenants. The Offices at The Galleon will also have state of the art building management system; LED lights and water saving urinals for energy and water efficiency; double-glazed glass finishes; telecom fiber optic; a fire detection system; 100 percent backup power; 24/7 security, CCTVs and x-rays; and material recovery facilities.
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